TWO illegal gold panners died in separate mine accidents in Matabeleland South Province, police have confirmed.
Acting Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Thabani Mkhwananzi said the incidents occurred on Friday and Saturday at Bolo Mine and Bina Mine in Gwanda.
“I can confirm that we recorded two mine accidents that occurred at Bolo Mine and Bina Mine in Gwanda. In the first incident, Lenin Nyoni (42) was illegally panning at a disused mine shaft which is 20 metres deep. While he was inside the shaft collapsed trapping him inside.
“Nyoni called out for help and other panners who were in vicinity pulled him out. He was ferried to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” he said.
Asst Insp Mkhwananzi said in the second incident an illegal gold panner died after he was struck by rocks while working in a shaft in Bina Mine area in Gwanda.
He said the now deceased Cleopas Ndlovu (32) from Spitzkop North in Gwanda was working with two others when the shaft collapsed and rocks fell on him.
“I can confirm that we recorded a sudden death case which occurred in Bina Mine area. The now deceased was illegally panning for gold with his two counterparts. They went down into a three-metre deep and while they were working in it the shaft collapsed and some rocks fell on Ndlovu’s back and head.
“His colleagues managed to pull him out of the shaft and he was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” he said.
Asst Insp Mkhwananzi urged members of the public to desist from engaging in illegal gold panning activities as they were endangering their lives.
He said the province continued to record fatal mine accidents, most of them as a result of negligence.
“As police, we would like to urge people to desist from engaging in illegal mining activities, those who wish to engage in mining activities should regularise their operations. People should also stay away from disused and closed mines as they will be endangering their lives.